Temps may Drop but Running won't Stop

The first snow today in New York City welcomed many of us to winter running. But it's only cold if you're standing still! While it's easy to bring the run indoors onto the tread, it can also be beneficial to the mind, body, and soul to get out there and run in chilly weather.

By making the decision to brace the cold and run outside, you immediately build mental resolve. And the more you push through barriers, the easier it will be the next time. One of my running coaches once told me that if you wait for the perfect conditions, you will never improve.

Running outside also burns more calories since your body and heart have to work harder to pump blood and deliver oxygen to muscles. This means that your glycogen and fat stores are depleted a bit faster, so proper nutrition is still important. An extra donut is allowed.

To run outside when temps dip below 45F / 7C, use tech and wool blend fabric for your gear, starting with a good winter hat and gloves. A hat or headband should strike a balance between warmth and breathability and include sweat-wicking fabric such as Brooks' "DriLayer" or Nike's "Dri-Fit." Gloves should be wind-resistant with a thick shell and soft lining, otherwise your hands will still feel cold and numb!

My personal favorite cold-weather accessory is the balaclava, which covers the whole head and neck usually with an opening for your eyes and nose, a common item for skiers and burglars. Try not to creep up on someone when wearing your balaclava. Finding one that is light and moisture-wicking will protect you from frigid wind chill.

For your top layer, consider one made of merino wool which breathes and manages moisture better than other fabrics without being itchy. I often run just in a merino wool base layer unless it's really cold or snowing when I'll add a lightweight outer layer that is wind- and water-resistant. For bottoms, consider slim and supportive tights, adding an inner liner as necessary.

I always advise avoiding the outdoor run when conditions are especially slippery or there's a lot of black ice. Be safe above all else. Freshly packed snow can be more manageable and fun to run on. Traction cleats that attach to the bottom of your running shoes will enhance your stability on snowy roads or trails.

Don't let winter end your outdoor run. Having the right mindset and running gear is all you need. The first few minutes will be painful, but your body will quickly adapt. Think about how good you will feel after, and have a warm post-run incentive like hot chocolate with marshmallows. Bring out that inner winter warrior. Personal bests are earned in the winter!